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B A L L P E E N ( ! ) B U L L E T I N S

updated: March 21st, 2007



vv - Hundred Sights Of Koenji" CD revamped!
vv- split with USKE ORCHESTRA and...?
vv - on tour - get your groupie on!
vv - Ruins, Acid Mothers Temple, Akaten and more!
vv - with a message to the listeners.
vv - Kanye West weighs in on the Drum Buddy.
vv - (not) together again?
vv - speak of the hand.

Salütes Sound Seekers ( ! )
SKiN GRAFT's Ace Reporter, "Jazzy" Joe Romita here with another staggering summary of the frankly phenomenal feats fathered at the famed fount of flabbergast... the forever favored, far-from faddish, far-flung frontiersmen of the fashionable Fort SKiN GRAFT!!!! Face front, frenzied ones!!!!

See, senior? Yes, your eyes betray you not, you've stumbled upon a sensational, scintillating shower of superlative SKiN GRAFT soothsaying...(!) It’s Jazzy Joe with another knee-knocking narrative of noteworthy news and name-dropping nonsense from the nation's numero-uno non-entity of noisemakers and no-good-nicks! Now,steady yourselves for a bilious barrage of bombastic briefs, beats and feats - the Ballpeen Bulletins have begun a' broadcasting!!!

ITEM! OOP - In all of initialism, few letters fan the flames of desire among audio-holics like this agony-inducing acronym. For years, the debut recording from KOENJIHYAKKEI has been saddled with this status, and not only was it out of print, but this long player was available only in Japan to begin with! Well, face-front, my foaming, frothy-frowned fellows, Jazzy's got smiles to go 'round 'cause at long last KOENJIHYAKKEI "Hundred Sights Of Koenji" is available again - and it's never sounded better!

koenjiFrom the official press release:
For the first time ever, Skin Graft Records proudly presents Koenjihyakkei’s legendary debut album “Hundred Sights of Koenji” to western listeners. With the original issue on Japan’s God Mountain label largely unheard and fetching enormous prices on the collector’s market, “Hundred Sights of Koenji”, returns to print in a deluxe, remastered edition.

Originally released in 1994, "Hundred Sights of Koenji" teams the (then) full RUINS line-up of Yoshida Tatsuya and Masuda Ryuichi, with Kubota Aki and Kuwahara Shigekazu for a futuristic journey forward to those hallowed fields of yore. KOENJIHYAKKEI is Area and ELP at their most excessive; Deus Ex Machina with tempo changes multiplied by 100; and Magma at their orff-ian choral, fusion jazz, overcharged gospel peak. Here begins a new chapter in the storied Zeuhl scene, where foreign tongues, interplanetary wars and inhuman technique rule the roost.


o "The first emotion that the music of Koenjihyakkei provokes is disbelief, a total inability to grasp how five individuals could come together to create such a sound. Their cacophonous yet ultraprecise future-prog truly sounds beyond the limits of human potential. But slowly it all starts to make sense. Koenjihyakkei's combination of operatic female vocals, dizzying keyboard lines, bleating woodwinds and jawdropping drumming creates a sound that can be deeply enjoyed just as easily as it can be marveled at." - Prefix

o “I'm probably going out on a limb here, but from my vantage point, this is not only the most brilliant of all of contemporary Japanese bands, but perhaps the greatest group currently operating in the world.” - Alternative Press

o "Essential. A masterpiece of progressive music." - Prog Archives


Here's hoping you've put aside some pennies to secure a shiny, new copy for your sagging CD shelving. At this very moment KOENJIHYAKKEI "Hundred Sights Of Koenji" is in-stock and up for orders. If you'd like to accumulate more knowledge before you buy, then you'll find a Preview MP3 playing at the SKiN GRAFT AUDIO page, can read more at their BAND page and will enjoy pics a'plenty at their PHOTOGALLERY. For check & money order mail-ordering instructions, go to the CATALOG Page, or you credit-carrying cards can squirrel away your savings by sending it our way via the PAYPAL Shop!


ITEM! Ever since the news broke that "Eligible" Ed Rodriguez had joined fellow GORGE TRIO member "Jovial" John Dieterich in DEERHOOF, the SG News Desk has hit high tide - (!) - Yes, your nifty news reporter is drowning under a torrent of anxious emails - mostly made up of mixed emotion missives. While Graftdom assembled is unanimously elated that John and Ed are performing side-by-side on a regular basis (for the first time since their Colossamite days), our distraught disciples are straight-up suicidal - voicing concern that - with Ed and John collaborating in Deerhoof - and powerhouse percussionist Chad Popple residing some umpteen thousand miles away in Hamburg Germany - GORGE TRIO will up and call it quits. Well, fear not fellows, allow Jazzy to loosen that life-threathneing lynch lasso of longing from you larynx! GORGE TRIO lives and work has already begun on the follow up to their masterpiece "Open Mouth O' Wisp", - though it's release is what we in the industry call "a ways off". In the meantime, brewing behind the scenes, the word is that SKiN GRAFT is discussing giving GORGE TRIO's self-released album "The Made Ups" a full-fledged release later this year. Recorded between "For Loss Of" and "Open Mouth O' Wisp", "The Made Ups" was available as a tour-only item, with little more than 100 copies making it out into the public's domain before vanishing into the ether! Watch this space for details as they become available!

As for the hear and now...

ITEM! Ache import Dept. Great Caesar's Ghost! SKiN GRAFT has just imported a limited quantity of the uber-rare split 7" release from GORGE TRIO and USKE ORCHESTRA for distribution to it's loyal legion of listeners! Described in the official solicitation as a“super group of sorts", GORGE TRIO (containing members of Deerhoof, The Flying Luttenbachers and XBXRX) offer "What We Agree On", a dynamic concoction of their syncopated free-jazz rumble and moon-man melody. Meanwhile, Belgium's USKE ORCHESTRA deliver "Billlling-Billllong" - a steamrolling anti-segues through an unsettling cartoon landscape of cut n' paste old world nostalgia. Quantities are in short supply, so order now and order often by visiting the EVERYTHING ELSE Section of the PAYPAL Shop! Nuff Said!


ITEM! Alright groupies - get those bus tickets purchased, because a bevy of those beautiful SKiN GRAFT music-makers are going on tour and you can bet your bottom that they will be looking to pick up that surrogate girl / boyfriend to take care of their many needs while enduring the rigors of the road! Here's a quick rundown of who's getting ready to head out:

PRE (United States Tour)
North American dates from April 14th - April 28th / Homecoming show in London on May 1st.

(European Tour)
First ever European appearances! Dates from April 6th - April 19th.

(North America / Europe / Middle East Tour)
North American dates from March 26th - April 13th / European dates from April 24th - May 25th / Middle East dates from May 29th - June 1st

You'll find details on these shows and others at the TOURS page, including this one below...


ITEM! Three Musicians!!! Seven Acts!??? It must be...

..(Europe / Middle East Tour)
Together on one stage, it's seven of the most innovative acts from Japan's vibrant new music scene!

ruinsRUINS (alone)
One of the most innovative composers in Japan, Yoshida Tatsuya is renowned as the founder of the unclassifiable bass and drum duo RUINS. Here Yoshida performs the music of RUINS solo in an unforgettable set of rapid fire, hardcore progressive rock, sung in a language of his own invention.

Acclaimed as the greatest, most extreme trip-psychedelic band in the world, AMT's crushingly acute freakout sound is guaranteed to pulverize.

The band hints at the members' interests in troubadour and classic rock, but in the end, they sound like nothing but ZOFFY.

TSUYAMA ATSUSHI (solo performance)
Tsuyama has accumulated traditional musics from around the world and dismantled them. Now, through his interpretation, he creates a beautiful, unclassifiable, "new" traditional music.

Using commodities like scissors, toothbrushes, zippers, cameras, and plastic bottles as their instruments of choice, AKATEN is the experimental convenience store punk band that provides the sound images of a cheap and simple daily life.

KAWABATA MAKOTO (solo performance)
Best known for his noise-fuzz guitar in Acid Mothers Temple, here he draws upon a huge reservoir of original techniques that simply cannot be categorized as minimal, drone or experimental.

Japan's premier eccentric poly-rhythmic a cappella ensemble covers everything from gregorian chants to ethnic music, do-wop to hardcore screaming.

This is a can't miss event - and the most fun you will have at a concert this year! All the details are up now at the TOURS page!

ITEM! Let's hop into the way-back machine and rewind to a much discussed item on YOWIE (original line-up pictured at left) from last year's Ballpeen Bulletins:

"At times it looked like YOWIE's search for the link gone missing when guitarist Jeremiah Wonsewitz vacated the premises would prove to be as elusive as the hunt for their hypothetical namesake. But your premier purveyor of poundcake is positively pimply pink to report that at long last, the ideal link has been forged (!), and Yowie is once again a three-piece!!! The identity of the 3rd member is being kept under lock and key at Cryptozoologist Heady McDoogan's subterranean stronghold for the time being, but believe you me, when word comes arriving, you can bet all of Graftdom assembled will be jabber-jiving, high five-ing, and stage diving over this much-anticipated Yowie reviving!"

Now ever since that post, Jazzy has received (and accepted) countless bribes from individuals of said Graftdom assembled to reveal just who the mysterious third member of YOWIE is. Now until the band is ready to make an announcement, Jazzy's lips are sealed (unless there's a few fins attached to your proposition), but Yowie themselves have just released a statement on their status, and it is printed below for your perusal:

yowieDear inhabitants of planet earth,

We, the members of YOWIE,
would like to announce that we are not yet ready to play a show. This should not be surprising, since we have not played one in quite some time now. But rest assured that we are working furiously toward playing one in the foreseeable future.

If you want details, here's the deal: We decided some time ago that we didn't want the new and improved yowie 2.0 to play out with all the old songs being rehashed over and over with only a new one every few months. So, we yowies 3 made a blood pact to have FOUR complete songs, all finished to each member's satisfaction, before we played a show. We are now working on the fourth of these. As you might imagine, that whole "finished to each member's satisfaction" part has been somewhat problematic, since at least one of us tends to be picky about something nearly all the time (that is, it's hard for all 3 of us to agree on the exact parameters of each micro-part of our compositions), but it is our sincere hope that this will make the songs better. Also as you might imagine, our songs take a great deal of effort to compose and then learn to play fluidly, and so saying "working on 4th of 4 new songs" doesn't mean we will be done next week. As much as I envy the sheer productivity (as measured in minutes of recorded music) of people who play in pop punk bands in this manner, that just ain't Yowie.

So, we appreciate all of the requests for shows and everything, but we just want everyone to know that the answer, for everyone, is "not quite yet." Nothing personal, seriously. If you are looking for a show in the STL we can direct you to venues and likeminded folks, but we probably can't play the show. Also, please know that we will certainly not make our readiness to play shows again, once it occurs, a secret. We will yell it from the rooftops and mountain summits and send blogs and drop leaflets from messerschmitts and record an album and tour and all of that good shit. Yes we will.

Thanks for your patience, understanding, and continued interest,

The Yowie(s)

In the interest of throwing you a bone with a bit more meat on it, Jazzy is prepared to reveal this - the third member of Yowie is someone who has appeared on SKiN GRAFT before - and a recent conversation with the band brought out this tidbit about the new material. I quote: "The 4th new song is shaping up to be "rather lengthy, and much more 'dancy' than usual".

Put that in your half-pipe and smoke it, hombres!


ITEM! Crack Music: Get a load of this - None Other than outspoken hip hop producer extraordinair -slash- rap artist Kanye West has devoted a full page of his blog to the Q Electronics Drum Buddy (!), Quintron's light-activated oscillating drum machine! You can check out what Kanye has to say by visiting his blog HERE. And due to the overwhelming demand generated by Kanye's legion of fans, copies of the "Drum Buddy Demonstration CD and LP are once again available for orders in the PAYPAL Shop!

Rumor Department: According to our sources, the currently scattered members of the original US Maple line-up: Al Johnson, Mark Shippy, Todd Rittmann and Pat Samson, were scheduled to regroup at Colossal Mastering last month, but for undisclosed reasons, one of the members canceled hours before the reunion. The word is that the session has not yet been rescheduled, but the original master tapes of "Sang Phat Editor" have been pulled out of storage for the event. This story is developing... Stay tuned.


AA anonymous: As loyal listeners of our legendary long-players, you've no doubt relished the rich, raw, rabble rousing rumble reeled out by our own dynamic double-header ATHLETIC AUTOMATON. Surely by now, you've gushed over the guzzling guitar greatness of Stephen Mattos and pogo-ed about to punishing percussive poundings of Patrick Crump on their new album "A Journey Through Roman's Empire". - - But - you haven't had a chance to see them live since the album's release. As reported a few updates back, Pat's hand has been on hold for medical reasons and the band is in the midst of a mandatory time out. In their latest blog the band wanted to share this:

When we're ready to start playing again we'll let everyone know, though it may still be quite some time. We really appreciate all the offers for shows that have been sent to us, and apologize for turning them down. If the circumstances were different we would be very receptive to these offers. Please be patient with us. We hope to be back soon.



So til then, lets see a soaring Skin Graft-ian surge of support for our physically fucked over friends. If by some oversight, you have yet to score ATHLETIC AUTOMATON's latest, there's no time like the present to give yourself the gift that keeps on giving (headaches) all year long! Point, click and shoot your way to the PAYPAL Shop post-haste!

ebayITEM! Who's Up For Bids? Dept: While SiNRAFT is now notorious for releasing a bootleg of PRE / AIDS Wolf songs in a bounteous, breast-enhanced calendar sleeve, the rouge SiNRAFT imprint first appeared back in 1997 with an unauthorized 7" of LAKE OF DRACULA recordings. Not long after, Skin Graft thought turn-about was fair play and appropriated the SiNRAFT name for it's music publishing arm and it's semi-annual ebay listings. Culled primarily from Skin Graft CEO Mark Fischer's personal hoardngs, the SINRAFT Ebay Auctions are up and running again with plenty of rare (and some not so rare) noise, punk and hardcore vinyl and CD offerings. Lots of stuff has already sold, including a sealed copy of US Maple's exquisitely packaged "Sang Phat Editor" LP and a large lot of Skin Graft CD's on the cheap. Everything from vintage Adrenalin O.D. singles to out of print Pajama Party DVD's will be going up the before the auction hammer comes down, so - if you are so inclined, you can keep an eye on the auction action HERE.

Well, that's all we've got time for this go-round. Jazzy advises you get plenty of sleep before his next update because after you read the wild wad of wonderment he'll be dropping next time it's guaranteed that your pillow is going to be soaked in anticipatory drool night after night!

And so -
Until then again -



updated: February 8th, 2007

Hi Everybody,

This is Mark writing with a quick update. We have lots and lots of tours to report.

In Europe, AIDS WOLF, CHEER-ACCIDENT and RUINS Alone (performing as part of the Japanese New Music Festival) will all be touring Europe this April. Both RUINS and AIDS WOLF will be performing in Israel as well. PRE is planning to play select shows on the West Coast of the United States this April - and we have updated U.S. shows for The CHINESE STARS and QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT as well. Dates will posted as they come in at the TOURS page.

gr90And we've just added a preview MP3 - "Doi Doi" - from the upcoming remixed and remastered KOENJIHYAKKEI "Hundred Sights Of Koenji" CD at the AUDIO page. The CD will be released in April and up for pre-orders soon!

Also - a number of folks have asked if we'd be getting in more copies of the ULTRAMAN DVD mentioned in the previous update. We only had a limited quantity available and we will not be restocking it. Thanks to everyone who made our oddball distribution venture such a success!

Alrighty - that's all for now. Expect a big news update next time. Thanks!



updated: January 4th, 2008

Happy New Year Everybody,

This is Mark writing. The new issue of
SPIN is out with no less than two pages devoted to PRE - a photo spread of (exceedingly good) Keex Matsuura and a brief interview to boot! We realize that this would have passed over most of our reader's radars - so a scan of the coverage has been posted for you to check out HERE. The issue is on stands now!

ITEM! A few New Years Eve's back, Johanna and I had some friends over to our place and in the background of our shindig, we played episodes of the classic 1966 ULTRAMAN TV show for ambience. At the time, the show was not commercially available and had not been seen on TV for years - the show was a big hit and before we knew it half of the party was huddled around the TV, cracking MST3K style jokes and marveling at the monster battles. Especially popular with partiers was the episode "Mystery Comet Tsuiphon" where ULTRAMAN gets involved in a three-way monster mash - including these two Kaiju below:

So - to make a long story short, an opportunity arose to pick up some copies of this particular episode for distribution, along with another 18 (!) half-hour shows and we're offering it at a special price in the EVERYTHING ELSE section of our Paypal Shop. This was a favorite TV show of mine as a kid - and was a big influence on SKiN GRAFT during it's formative years. For those unfamiliar with the show, it was created by Japan's special effect pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya (who brought Godzilla to life back in 1954). Tsuburaya was the director of special effects on over 100 films throughout his career, including virtually every major monster film produced in Japan. Each episode features the giant-sized superhero ULTRAMAN up against a nutty new monster menace.

Here's the solicitation from BCI, producer of the DVD release:
In a world threatened by alien invaders and giant prehistoric monsters, only one agency has what it takes to handle the situation: The Science Patrol. Led by Captain Muramatsu, this ultra-sophisticated police force defends the planet from the unknown. What the Science Patrol doesn't know is that one of its own members has the ability to transform into the giant superhero from Nabula M7B - Ultraman - and can stop evil foes when the Patrol's weaponry can't do the job. Ultraman was produced by Tsuburaya Productions, and 39 original episodes were broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from July 1966 to April 1967. Ultraman was syndicated on television in the United States by United Artists in the 1970s.

This Set Includes:
* 3 DVD's with a total of 19 episodes.
* Original Japanese audio track, with newly created English subtitles
* English dubbed tracks created for the original television broadcast by the same team that voiced Speed Racer
* A Kajiu (monster) Encyclopedia
* A twelve page booklet on the series
* Each of the three DVDs comes packaged in an individual slimline case with unique artwork - all housed in an embossed metallic foil slipcase.

The monster costumes are truly amazing, numerous episodes are directed by avant-garde filmmaker Akio Jissoji, and the influence the show's sound effects had on the noise scene are indisputable. The ULTRAMAN DVD Box Set carries a suggested retail price of $39.98, but we can offer it to Skin Graft customers at less than half that - at $15.85 postpaid in the USA and Canada (overseas, please add shipping charges).
All DVD's are Region 1, NTSC encoded - for play in North America and multi-region players worldwide. To order, visit the EVERYTHING ELSE Section of the Paypal Shop.

Okay - that's it for today - Thanks!


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